The No. 5 Maryland Terrapins (4-0-1, 0-0-1) will play their second Big Ten match of the season against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-3-1, 0-1-0) on Tuesday night at Ludwig Field.
Maryland is coming off a 0-0 draw against No. 4 Indiana last Friday night, making this the fourth straight season the Terps have tied their opening Big Ten game. Head coach Sasho Cirovski and company are 1-1-1 coming off draws in conference opening games since joining the Big Ten in 2014.
In order to bounce back from what both Cirovski and senior captain George Campbell called a loss against Indiana, the team will have to work on being more connected as a unit.
“I thought today was the first time all year I didn’t think our midfielders and forwards were connected defensively and on attack,” Cirovski said after the draw against Indiana.
Campbell reassured that the team would build on the negative performance against Indiana.
“Every step back that we take as a program we always build on that and progress through,” Campbell said. “Just to continue to look at the moments that we did build and keep the ball well and try to expand on those moments and get more comfortable doing that is what we are going to have to take away from the game.”
Junior forward Gordon Wild, the team’s leading goalscorer with three on the season, will also be looking for a bounce back performance after missing all four of his shot attempts in the last game.
It was redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair who was the star player in the match against Indiana. While largely untested for much of the season leading up to the Indiana match, St. Clair made a career-high six saves to secure a draw for Maryland.
Rutgers is coming off a 2-1 loss against Michigan State on Friday night to open their Big Ten schedule, the third straight Big Ten season opener in which they lost. The Scarlet Knights outshot Michigan State (5-0-0) 19 to 6 when looking for an equalizer that never came.
“We created enough quality chances to certainly tie that game up if not win it,” Rutgers head coach Dan Donigan said to the Big Ten Network after the Michigan State match. “I’m proud of the effort and the way we played the game.”
Although playing well more recently, Rutgers did suffer back-to-back 5-1 and 6-1 defeats at the hands of Wake Forest and North Carolina respectively. Maryland will be Rutgers’ sixth and final away game to start the season.
Maryland defeated Rutgers 2-1 in double overtime last season in what was a dismal season overall for the Scarlet Knights, finishing with a 1-14-1 record overall. Their 2015 total of 12-7-2 landed Rutgers into the playoffs as Donigan was named the 2015 Big Ten Coach of the Year.
The last time these two teams met in New Jersey, Rutgers took the Terps into double overtime, but senior midfielder Jake Rozhansky won the game in the 103rd minute, giving Maryland a 2-1 victory almost a full year ago away.
Although that game was close until the very end, Maryland still outshot Rutgers 22 to 2. Former Rutgers goalkeeper David Greczek’s eight saves were not enough to get a result against the then No. 4 Terps.
Donigan, entering his eighth season at the helm at Rutgers, is used to losing 2-1 to Maryland as that has been the score five out of the last six times these teams have played dating back to the 2011 season. The one outlier was in 2013 when Maryland won 3-1.
“Our standards are very high, [the 0-0 result against Indiana] probably wasn’t as bad as I think it was,” Cirovski said. “I’m still disappointed that we couldn’t create as many opportunities against them.”
Look for the Terps to be more offensively creative against the visiting Rutgers, as they have outshot them 56 to 19 in the past three seasons.
The game will kickoff at 8 p.m. from Ludwig Field and will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.
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